By Kevin Gault
When the technology-consulting firm Information Architecture Group (IAG) took steps to make its white paper marketing program more efficient, it focused on a specific goal: Improving the quality of its sales leads.
The 10-year-old company, (www.iag.biz) based in New Castle, Delaware, specializes in defining and managing the software needs of its clients. A couple of years ago, IAG’s marketing group realized it didn’t have enough quality leads to increase revenue for its Business Requirements consulting service.
“We weren’t generating enough leads for this product,” explains Keith Ellis, vice president of IAG. “Our website brought in some business and we had opportunities through our existing relationships and marketing database, but we weren’t creating enough opportunity to grow this part of the business as much as we wanted.”
Revamping the Program
Ellis decided to remedy the situation by revamping IAG’s white paper program. To make the program more successful, the company needed to reach senior-level prospects at companies of a certain size in certain industries. The prospects had to be buyers of technology solutions.
Ellis turned to a long-time supplier, technology-research firm Technology Evaluating Centers (TEC) of Quebec, Canada (www.technologyevaluation.com), to provide highly qualified sales leads for the program.
“We told TEC that we wanted to syndicate our white papers to ideal prospects and we needed highly qualified sales leads,” says Ellis. “The people registered with TEC—people who have technology-evaluation needs—are precisely our target market.”
After Ellis briefed TEC on the ideal prospects for its white paper, Getting Consensus on Business Requirements, TEC sent spreadsheets to IAG every week with qualified leads. As IAG’s marketing team uploaded the leads into the company’s CRM system, they flagged names they didn’t want and returned them to TEC to be replaced.
After the white paper was emailed to prospects, IAG’s marketing group followed up by phone. For this step in the program, Ellis prepared his sales team to efficiently call the increased volume of leads.
A Winning Program
The revamped white paper program achieved cost-effective results for IAG: “One of every four prospects provided by TEC who downloaded our white paper became a quality sales opportunity,” says Ellis. “We spent $30,000 for the TEC program and we realized $600,000 in sales from it. Whenever you end up with a 5% cost of marketing, you’ve got a winning program.”
No matter how informative or compelling your white paper is, if it doesn’t get into the right people’s hands, you’re not going to make sales. Evaluate your lead-generation program to find out if your leads are getting results or if weak leads are making your sales reps waste their time.
“To structure a successful white paper program, you need to be very clear about who your target market is and use only leads that are proven to be in that market,” concludes Ellis. “It’s also vitally important to be able to handle the all-important follow-up to those leads.”